Visited a charming little used bookstore located in a church in downtown Capetown this morning. Books bought were a bit mildewy, but irresistible for their covers and`some content. James Reeves’ A Short History of English Poetry, Letters from Madame de Sevigne, with Preface by Somerset Maugham, Samuel Butler’s Notebooks, and GK Chesterton’s Essays of Today and Yesterday, this from the Introductory Note:
"There were masters of paradox before Mr. G.K. Chesterton, but they were, generally speaking, masters with a difference. To the writer who finds that he is facile in this mode the temptation is strong to use his gift regardless of all things. So it degenerates into a species of word-juggleery that at first astonishes by its unexpectedness, then pleases by its dexterity, and finally offends by reason if its misplaced ingenuity. Once we begin to suspect that a writer is wrestling truth to serve paradox his fate is sealed. When, however, Mr. Chesterton says, "Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas," or "A satisfactory explantion can never satisfy," or "Nine times out of ten a man’s broad-mindedness is the narrowest thing about him," he is not performing verbal gymnastics but stating the truth as he sees it in the simplest and most effective way that occurs to him."
Next post: G.K. on nonsense and faith.